Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt defended the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to his agency, suggesting that state governments have all the money they need to protect the environment.
After Chris Wallace grilled Pruitt on his previous comments denying climate change, the Fox News Sunday host observed that the administration’s proposed 31-percent cuts to the EPA, “including Great Lakes restoration, water runoff control for farmers, and pesticide safety,” are the largest planned cuts to any agency.
“What does that say about this commitment of this administration — and you — to cleaning up environment, when you’re making a 31 percent cut in your agency and things like water runoff for farmers?”
Pruitt responded that there has been “a lack of commitment to state partnership” in recent years.
“We have state departments of environmental quality that have the resources and the expertise to deal with clean water and clean air issues,” he responded, suggesting that cash-strapped state governments could simply take over federal duties.
“Are you sure they’re gonna pick up the slack?” Wallace pressed.
Pruitt answered that he has met with “several governors” who are “committed to pro-jobs and pro-environment,” while scolding Washington, D.C. for pushing a “narrative” that “people in Texas, and Oklahoma, and Kansas, and Colorado don’t care about the water they drink or the air they breathe and are not gonna take care of the air water locally and in states.”
Pruitt, as attorney general of Oklahoma, had a lengthy record of siding with industry and opposing environmental regulations. After his confirmation as EPA administrator, thousands of emails were released that the New York Times said showed he was “arm in arm with industry.”